Sambhar Vada (Yellow Lentil Soup With Spiced Doughnuts)

Total Time
2hrs 15mins
Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins

This is traditional a breakfast food in South India but it makes a lovely starter was well. Based on this recipe: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sambhar_vada_yellow_10317

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. For the sambhar (soup), rinse the lentils and put them in a large pan with the onion, green chilli, tomatoes, chilli powder and turmeric.
  2. Add 200ml/7fl oz water, bring to the boil and cook for about 30 minutes until the lentils are soft then season to taste with salt.
  3. Meanwhile, make the vada (doughnuts). Drain the black lentils and rice, place them in a food processor with one tablespoon of water and blend to a thick batter.
  4. Add the chopped onion, chilli, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt, mix well then set aside.
  5. To finish the sambhar, heat the sunflower oil in a large pan and add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When they start spitting, add the curry leaves and sambhar powder. Fry for one minute then add the cooked lentil mixture and the tamarind juice and simmer gently for five minutes.
  6. To finish the vada, heat the sunflower oil in a deep-fat fryer to about 180C/350°F The oil is hot enough when a cube of bread dropped into it turns golden-brown and floats to the surface.
  7. To shape the doughnuts, drop large spoonfuls of the batter onto a piece of cling film moistened with a little water. Press each one down slightly, make holes in the middles, then carefully drop them into the hot oil. Shape and fry the doughnuts a few at a time until all the mixture is used up, draining them in kitchen paper.
  8. Garnish the sambhar with coriander leaves and serve with the spiced doughnuts.
Most Helpful

I will summarize this long review first, and then go into details. Make the vadas,but use a different sambhar recipe.
I was really not sure what rating to give this recipe. Partially because there are two items to cook in this recipe and one of them was tasty, the other really dull. Partially because there were errors in measurement on both recipes.
First the measurements. I think that the quantity of toor dal should have been 20 grams, not 200. The result was more like dal than sambhar. Also 200 grams of dal cooked with 1 cup of water would not result at all in soup. I ended up using about 12 cups of water. Then, because the amount of toor dal was too high, I had to adjust all the other spices and ingredients. Even so the sambhar was pretty boring. I guess I like more vegetables in my sambhar. Actually I have never had sambhar with so few vegetables in it. Plus it took over 2 hours to cook, not 30 minutes. If I had just used the small bit of toor dal and lots of water, it would have been done sooner, but still not in 1/2 hour. In sambhar the dal should be very soft.
The vadas turned out much better. The flavor was good and the texture too. Again I had to use way more water than called for or it would not have been a dough at all, just crumbles. I ended up adding a tiny bit too much water, partially so the food processor I used wouldn't die, and couldnt' make the doughnut shapes called for. So instead I made more like hush puppies. Taste was authentic though and they came out nice and light.

alvinakatz August 21, 2012